What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Music and Lyrics April 2, 2016

So this crazy thing happened last year. My husband and I wrote a song.

See, the theatre company that we’ve been working for for a while is run by this awesome family. The patriarch decided he wanted to write a musical and asked the husband and me to be in it. We were both super excited. I mean, how often do you get to be in a brand new show with parts written just for you?

The patriarch/playwright said that we could help with the music, and I could play my beloved ukulele in the show. We had this conversation about fourteen minutes before the husband and I left Florida for a long road trip north.

We were listening to Harry Potter book on tape, a practice which has saved our marriage on more than one occasion, and I started daydreaming.

A ukulele song for me. I knew what my character’s story arch was, and I got a little bored hour five into the drive. So I decided to write out some lyrics. Just for fun. When it was time to switch drivers, I made my husband look at the lyrics. He’s the music guy. He can listen to a song and write out what notes he’s hearing, and he’s done orchestrations for shows before. So, he really knows what he’s doing.

I think he got a little bored in the car, because before we had made it north he had written the melody, and after an hour with my uke he had written out the chords.

We sent the song to the playwright. He liked it and asked us to write more. And before you knew it, the husband and I were a song-writing duo.

And it’s kind of awesome. Writing a song is a short, simple version of writing a novel. You have a story you want to tell, and you only get a few hundred words to tell it. It’s like a rhyming blog post.

One of the songs for the show was written on a bus ride coming out of Denali National Park. Another on receipt paper while I was bored during a quiet time at work. I give the words to my husband, and then he does magic. He turns ordinary words into a song. And it’s really amazing.

So naturally I managed to take a fun one time project and turn it into a massive undertaking, combining my love of writing novels with my enjoyment in watching my husband slave over a piano. And someday soon, I hope to tell you a little more about the super secret project!

But for now, just know that wonderful things are happening in the new musical and super secret land. And maybe music is a little magical. Dumbledore said it best. “‘Ah, music,’ he [Dumbledore] said, wiping his eyes. ‘A magic beyond all we do here!’”


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